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Trends & Short Cuts

To Know or Not To Know: Which is Better

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This weekend, I spoke with a job seeker who -- three weeks ago -- applied for a job listing online for a job that he saw at Borders. He hadn't seen the closing signs, or the news coverage that Borders will be laying off over 10,000 employees nationwide. And even if he had, he knows that companies hire all the time -- even if they are laying off people in other departments.

My friend spent over an hour applying for the job, then dropped by last week to discover that they were closing within three days. There were no jobs to be had.

"I'm annoyed. I'm frustrated. But I'm glad I know now that I won't be hearing from them."

There are some aspects of the job search you can't control: It isn't always possible to know when a job is posted -- "for real" or when it's posted to comply with internal hiring policies or marketing plans of keeping up appearances.

That said, there are some tried and true -- as well as emerging and new -- ways that you can ensure you get better feedback on your applications. Wouldn't you rather know than sit and wait to hear? Here are three ways to do this:

1. Follow up.

I recently interviewed Google recruiter Jeff Moore, and learned that -- in his opinion -- one of the biggest mistakes that candidates for jobs at Google make is not following up and assuming that Google isn't interested. He cautioned, "Don’t take yourself out of the game." He also said he's frequently hired candidates who initially applied for a job he didn't hire them for the first time.

2. Get the inside scoop.

Use your social networks to figure out who you know inside the company, and -- if you've got a connection -- let them know you've applied. If not, don't be afraid to call the company, anyway. My friend Angela got several interviews simply by figuring out who the hiring manager was for positions, calling at night and leaving a voicemail with a two sentence summary of her skills and experience.

3. Sign up to get feedback. 

Since December, I've been working with StartWire, a free site that helps job seekers organize their job search -- and get feedback. One of the secrets not often shared when you apply for jobs, is that many companies actually provide you with updates on the status of your job application -- but you have to log back into the website where you applied for the job to get the feedback. StartWire checks this information automatically for you at over 2,600 companies when you tell them where you've applied.

Personally, I think it's better to know when you are in the running for a job -- or not -- then to sit and play the waiting game. You?

On Change, Water, and Blog Action Day

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Generally, I write about careers and job search. But today’s post is part of blog action day and I’m writing about water—as are others all over the world.

Like many Americans, I have spent my life surrounded by water. (Did you know a majority of the population lives within 50 miles of a body of water?)  I was born on an island—Galveston Island in Texas; and I live on an island today—that of Manhattan. I’ve spent many vacations in Maine, and I’ve frequently dreamed of living on an island in New England. But for now, it’s two blocks from the majestic Hudson River for me. I am not complaining.

In my work, I help people connect with jobs and employment opportunities. I scan the market, keep in touch with recruiters and colleagues, and help my clients research the market for what’s hot in terms of industry sectors, job trends, and sought after skills. Green jobs almost always makes the “in demand list” published by media, industry analysts, and career management experts. “We need people who can do more environmental work,” echoes the chorus. “The future is all about clean energy and sustainability.”

And yet, in my experience, while there’s always a strong interest in “working green,” I’ve yet to see signs of a Federal and private sector push to make green as mainstream as traditional technologies. I understand that there are so many technologies that have not yet evolved to the point where they are cost efficient. Take fuel cell processes for example: my understanding of current technology is that it requires far more energy and resources to produce “green energy” than it does to maintain the status quo. So, many production companies carry on as they have before.

When environmental accidents or health hazards come into the public eye, there’s a cycle: We resolve to do better, we say that things must change. We’ve done it this year as Congress has investigated the Gulf Coast oil spill, as the coal miners come to surface after 69 days, and as water became undrinkable in Boston due to a water pipe break.

In my experience, the public accepts and makes changes in policy the way that most of us respond to new developments—slowly and over time. As Gordon Livingston, one of my favorite authors says, “Only bad things happen quickly.”

Finding a job in environmentally-related work is a process. Take the state of New Jersey for example, there are great programs available for former Wall Street Workers to "go green" and gain techical skills. Participants can receive tuition reimbursement for their coursework. And yet, unemployed members of my NYC-based Job Seekers Meetup tell me their is a wait list of several months to apply and get into these programs.

One of my clients is having a similar experience finding a "green job." She has been passionate about water conservation since the age of nine. She’s earned a Master’s degree in the field, she’s written community conservation guides, She has taught classes to diverse audiences. And she’s been looking for a job in her field for over a year and a half. While everyone agrees water is important, there are very few positions in water management where she lives in the Southeast: In general, water is too plentiful, and too accessible. There’s an agreement that it is important, but non-profit and advocacy organizations don’t have enough money to fund a large number of positions. She’s gained widespread visibility and praise for her efforts, hired as a volunteer and invited to contribute to an expert publication in her field. But finding an open position in her field has been as difficult as finding a needle in a haystack—even after the Gulf Oil Spill happened in her backyard. As soon as her lease is up, she will move to the Southwest—where there are more water problems and opportunities. She’s working in another field, and laying the groundwork to make good things happen—even if job options present themselves gradually.

My hope for blog action day is that it will raise awareness of this important issue—and increase funding for positions in water conservation and management. All of us need clean water to survive and thrive. And as soon as you don’t have access to it, you’ll realize how critical the need is. (You can read about my family’s experience with a drought here. It is nothing in comparison with the challenges that millions of people and thousands of communities experience on a daily basis, but it was a wake-up call for us)

I'm hoping that the availablility of pro-water management and conservation positions grows from a trickle to a flood...you? Read more about why this is important on the Blog Action Day site.

Cross-posted on Career Hub.

Twitter and Your Job Search

This afternoon, I'll be talking live with Maggie Mistal, host of the Making a Living Radio Show on the Martha Stewart Living Radio Channel on XM/Sirius radio.

Our topic: Strategies for finding a job via Twitter and the Twitter Job Search Guide. We'll be on air from 4 to 5 pm and will answer questions. If you have a question on that or any other career topic, call in live: 866-675-6675.

Want to learn more about how you can find a job via Twitter? Here are five simple resources and strategies:

  1. Follow me--and my co-authors on Twitter. I am @chandlee. My co-authors are Deb Dib, @ceocoach and Susan Whitcomb @susanwhitcomb

    As soon as you follow me, you'll receive an e-mail with other names of career experts, recruiters, and over a dozen successful job seekers--all of whom contributed to the book.
  2. Check out our book, The Twitter Job Search Guide. Available through Amazon or in bookstores.

  3. Want a small introduction--or the latest news on Twitter? Browse through our website about the book, available at TwitterJobSearchGuide.com

    My co-authors and I update the blog weekly, so the information on Twitter trends remains current!

  4. Browse through this presentation on how to "Twitter Your Way to a New Job", created for us by Dennis McCafferty for Baseline Magazine.

  5. Contact me and let me know your questions--and how I can help! Write your comments below, send me a message on Twitter--or e-mail me!


To Your Success,

Chandlee

Is the Business Card Dying (Or Evolving?)

Yesterday, I stopped by The Roger Smith Hotel, a favorite Manhattan gathering spot for individuals interested in social media. I was there to meet Pam Slim, author of Escape from Cubicle Nation and Jonathan Fields, author of Career Renegade. Jonathan and Pam had joined forces to present a workshop for emerging entrepreneurs. They did not disappoint--even in late afternoon, their energy was palpable--and clearly contagious for those who had attended the workshop. Business_card

As is standard practice at such gatherings, business cards were exchanged.
And I began to hear a common refrain--one that I've heard frequently in the last 15 months:

"How can I find you on LinkedIn?
What is your Twitter handle?
Is this information on your business card?"

I recognize that this group may not be representative of the general public--after all, these individuals had all signed up to spend a day with two entrepreneurs known for their tech savvy, but the questions about social media URLs on business cards are becoming common.

As a result, I'm beginning to wonder if the traditional business card is dying. Is it only a matter of time before LinkedIn profile URLs become a standard field on the corporate business card?
(I don't necessarily see this future for Twitter--outside of PR, marketing, and advertising related fields--but I can definitely foresee this change for LinkedIn.)

I have yet to add social media URLs to my own business card, but I do plan on making this modification when my current supply runs out. In the interim, I've implemented a temporary "green" solution: My LinkedIn profile URL is now a permanent part of my e-mail signature, I've created a new paperless card.ly profile, and I've provided additional contact information through a customized background on Twitter.

While connections are never as good on screen or paper as they are in person, I think providing these additional channels for connectivity represents the evolving future of the "business card" exchange. These are my theories--and action steps--regarding this subject.

What are your thoughts, and how can I help you with your personal marketing plan?

To Your Success,
Chandlee